Scooters ride next to cars down East Houston Street.
Scooters and cars share the road on East Houston Street in downtown San Antonio. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Bexar County wants to survey its employees to see if they would take advantage of a stipend for taking rideshares or e-scooters to work.

The Bexar County Commissioners Court on Aug. 24 passed a resolution to solicit bids from companies who would conduct the survey. The request for proposals has not yet been submitted as commissioners wait for the San Antonio City Council to mull a partnership on possibly retooling the transportation benefits it provides to staff.

Bexar County has contracts with VIA Metropolitan Transit ($300,000 annually) and rideshare company Lyft ($50,000 a year) to provide transit services to County employees. But hardly anyone on the County payroll rides the bus, Judge Nelson Wolff said.

“If we had enough people interested in the County, we’d try to see if we could subsidize [a comprehensive suite of alternative transportation options] per month,” Wolff said. “Employees would pick what they would use.”

Rideshare and e-scooters can be a more cost-effective alternative for County employees, 80 percent of which drive solo to work, Wolff said.

TJ Mayes, Wolff’s chief of staff, rode e-scooters three times this past week and logged about four miles, Wolff said, for a total cost of just over $3. In contrast, using his car would have meant paying for parking and fuel.

The fledgling form of urban transportation has drawn the attention of County and City leaders as they look to encourage lighter-footprint commuting, especially in light of Bexar County’s designation by the Environmental Protection Agency as being out of compliance with federal ozone standards.

Wolff said he hopes the possible initiative plants a seed with private employers to provide similar incentives.

In a July 26 letter to Henry Cisneros, former San Antonio mayor and chairman of urban housing nonprofit CityView, Wolff pushed for an evolution of the current fixed-route bus system into a comprehensive transit system that would include rideshare, bicycles, and e-scooters.

“The best way to truly improve and future-proof our transit system is a full embrace [of a] demand-driven and consumer choice multi-modal model,” he wrote.

JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez was a columnist, former editor and reporter at the San Antonio Report.